“Every time it rains in Tokyo, the effect of spotted neon lighting is reflected in puddles of water on the sidewalks,” says George, noting the ripple of brushed stainless steel used above the ceiling of the first-floor bar.
Other reflections come from the mirror’s edged structural columns to give the effect of continuous, never-ending spaces.
Russell and George also used special film on the glass walls of the restaurant that plays with the idea of changing space and color.
Therefore, large glass spotlights, up to 800 mm in diameter, appear in the eye of the mind in multiples, increasing the vitality of the spaces.
“We wanted to transport guests to a different place, and create a sense of disbelief with some strategic moves,” Bryon says, pointing to the stainless-steel exterior pillar that appears cobalt blue.
Other monuments that take one to Tokyo include a large portrait of Tom Blashford.
As with Russell and George’s approach, his images have been vandalized, including a hanging bright yellow cab that appears to be moving forward without its wheels.
While dummy appliances create an exciting atmosphere, the large open kitchen at the heart of the main restaurant is central to Yakimono’s design (the bar area and terrace are above).
With so many kitchens, there is often a glimpse into how to make a great meal.
In this case, 85 percent of the kitchen is visible to customers, with a stainless steel rim wide enough to allow for coating and serving of dishes.
However, unlike the design of many Japanese restaurants, where the bench is aligned with the bar, here the tables are placed at a 90-degree angle, allowing people to enjoy the experience of the food being prepared but not feel part of the process.
Russell and George also included other seating arrangements such as the bar and banquette style, along with cabin seating at the level above, evoking the seating one would find on a Japanese train.
Other chairs, designed by Ross Diddier, feature troweled wood backrests that create a level of comfort and durability.
Those who want a quieter environment can book the private banqueting room for up to 12 people.
Russell and George have taken the Tokyo theme down to the last detail.
Even the bathroom door comes with a photograph of a cut-out poodle, and upon entering, the use of mirrors transforms a ubiquitous space into one that seems to go on endlessly.
While it’s pristine Tokyo, the view of Collins Street from the bathroom is a reminder that Yakimono is tightly packed into Melbourne.